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Have you received inquiries about making an extra large order for a customer with your Silhouette Cameo? If you haven’t, at some point, you probably will. A good small business owner knows the limitations of themselves – and the limitations of their cutting machine. For example, it isn’t cost effective to handle an order of 300 t-shirts with your Silhouette Cameo and heat transfer vinyl (HTV). Unfortunately, when you factor in the cost of the vinyl, the time to cut it, the time to weed it, the time to apply it, and the cost of supplies; you are likely to find out that your customer doesn’t want to pay a price that will leave you any room for profit. Generally, customers that order large quanities of items expect that they will receive bulk discounts for the large volume order. Luckily, you don’t have to simply pass on the potential large order!
Here are two alternatives to handle an extra large order:
Option 1) Order screenprinted (platisol) or digitally printed transfers. For my t-shirt example, you would create the t-shirt design to meet the needs of the customer. Then, you would order the transfers online. Once the transfers arrive, you apply the transfer to the shirts using a heat press. The process goes quickly, and you could probably do about one shirt every minute or two. I’ve had great luck ordering transfers through Transfer Express (by Stahls) when I did a large t-shirt order for a local non-profit. Transfer Express offers both custom and stock designs, and offers products for t-shirts, rhinestones, stickers, window decals, and much more. If you’d like to try them out before you jump into ordering transfers, Transfer Express offers a free sample pack, and you can learn more about the types of transfers and instructions for each here. You make money using transfers because you are able to save on supplies and the cost of the labor is lower – because you spend less time working on the order.
Option 2) Use a direct to garment printing company. Using the t-shirt example again, you would create the t-shirt design for the customer. Then, you would order the shirt to be printed through companies like Printaura or Printful. These companies print your design onto your t-shirt and mail the final product directly to your customer. Both Printaura and Printful operate on a white label basis. This means that your company’s name will appear as the return address on the package, and all paperwork included with your order is branded with your company name. I used Printaura for a set of family reunion tees that I created and simply ran out of time to complete on my own. I was impressed by the entire process. In addition to t-shirts, both companies carry tote bags, canvas, posters, framed art, mugs, pillows, and embroidered goods. You make money using direct to garment printing companies, because the company charges you a set price for the product they create. You charge the customer a higher price for the product that includes your time to design it.
What the biggest order that you would take on with your Silhouette or Cricut? Let me know in the comments. Then, share this post on Pinterest:
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this article and was not approached by any company mentioned in this article to write this article.
Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.